Sikh Articles of Faith & Identity

Can Sikh ladies wear earrings, makeup, and other jewellery?

According to the Panthic Sikh Rehat Maryada, there is no objection to wearing any kind of jewellery by an Amritdhari person provided one does not have to pierce his/her ear, nose or any part of the body to wear it.

ਚ) ਸਿੱਖ ਮਰਦ ਅਥਵਾ ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਨੂੰ ਨੱਕ, ਕੰਨ, ਛੇਦਨਾ ਮਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਹੈ |
“k. Piercing of nose or ears for wearing ornaments is forbidden for Sikh men and women.”
(SRM: Ch. 10, Article 16)

Gurbani says:

ਜੈਸੇ ਸੀਗਾਰੁ ਕਰੈ ਦੇਹ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨਾ ਨਕਟੇ ਨਕ ਕੀਕ ||੩||
“They may adorn and decorate their bodies, but without the Naam, they look like their noses have been cut off. ||3||”
(Ang 1336)

ਮਾਨੁਖੁ ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਆਇਆ ||
ਅਨਿਕ ਸਾਜ ਸੀਗਾਰ ਬਹੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਜਿਉ ਮਿਰਤਕੁ ਓਢਾਇਆ || ਰਹਾਉ ||
“Without understanding (the value of human life), his coming into the world is useless.
He puts on various ornaments and many decorations, but it is like dressing a corpse. ||Pause||”
(Ang 712)

During the olden days, the wearing of earrings and nose rings indicated slavery. The owners used them to identify their slaves. This does not fit in the Khalsa culture. We, the Khalsa, enjoy full freedom and are not slaves of any person or even of any god; hence we feel it degrading to wear earrings.

The reader may be surprised to know that wearing earrings is a recent fad. In early 1960s, when Dr. Gurbakhsh Singh visited the USA for higher studies, he did not see any woman or a girl with earrings. Rather he found, coeds chuckling at the ‘silly’ act on Indian women students piercing their ears and putting rings in them. They believed that it was practice of backward and uncultured people. (In 1961 two American friends of the Dr. Gurbakhsh Singh showed their concern about this hurtful and meaningless Indian custom).

What a U-turn fashion has taken now! All females young or old, almost without exception, are now seen wearing earrings. The size and design of the rings have no limits. The earrings have grown long enough to touch the shoulders and they swing around when the head is suddenly moved to left or right. Such fads come and go to be replaced by new ones. Wearing lipstick, earrings, skirts, and keeping long hair by boys is another example. However it is healthier for the mind and convenient for the body to live and dress simply and gracefully.

Those who avoid such fads enjoy greater and everlasting peace of mind and keep themselves free from self-inflicted punishment. It also strengthens their mind to think independently and live as leaders among their peers.